Beyond the shoulders of the vamps attacking us, I saw the bodies of dozens of mages littering the ground. Small groups held their own against their fanged and horned attackers. A few mages had summoned their own demons to fight. The entire area had broken out into bloody pandemonium.


I stabbed a female vamp in the neck. As she fell and went up in flames, I saw Adam fighting his way toward us. I didn’t have time to worry about him, because ten demons suddenly appeared in the clearing and headed toward us.

“Sabina?” Maisie called over her shoulder as I kicked a male in the stomach.

“Yeah?” I heard a zing of energy fly behind me.

“If we don’t make it out of this alive—”

“Kill first, talk later,” I interrupted.

She was too busy fighting to come back with a retort. I couldn’t blame her. For every vamp I killed, five more took his place. Where were they all coming from?

I called out. “Giguhl!”

In a flash he appeared behind the female vamp I was fighting. With one swift move, he zapped her with some demon magic.

“You called?” His chest and claws were covered in blood. Ash smeared his green face.

“How many of these ass**les have you taken out?”

“ ’Bout twenty. But they seem to be multiplying.”

“Go find Slade.”

“I saw him a few minutes ago fighting with the weres.”

I hadn’t seen the weres yet, but I’d kind of had my hands full. I shot a vamp who chose that moment to rush us. He ignited at our feet.

“Giguhl,” Maisie yelled over her shoulder. “You and Valva go find Rhea.”

“Aye, aye, captain,” he said before disappearing into the crowd.

Five more vamps flashed into the clearing not twenty feet from us. My heart kicked up a few more notches.

My muscles screamed from exertion. My bloody hands ached. My stomach clenched. They just wouldn’t stop coming. Still, Maisie and I fought. She’d stumble and I’d help her up. I’d fall back and she’d support me. We were an outnumbered team, but a team nonetheless.

I glanced over and saw Slade and five weres holding their own with the demons. It looked like we were finally making some headway.

As more mages joined us to fight, I felt Maisie pull away from my back. We were finally making a dent. I shot one of the few remaining vamps in the chest. As he exploded, I took a deep breath, but when another horde flashed into the clearing it changed into a gasp. Suddenly, the area was swarming with vampires and demons again.

Rhea ran up with Giguhl and Adam. “Everyone circle up!”

Everyone nearby—about twenty mages and demons—fell into a circle, our backs toward the center of the circle. Rhea grabbed my left hand in a tight grip and Adam took my right.

I jerked my head toward her. “What are we doing?”

“We need to combine our magic if we’re going to defeat them.”

“Rhea I don’t—” I began, panic gripping me. I wasn’t sure if I could handle zapping anyone anymore. Just the memory of zapping Hawthorne had made me puke.

Rhea’s intense gaze burned into me. “You can do this.”

“But—”

She squeezed my hand and turned to address the circle. “Tap the line!”

A low hum of energy pulsed up from the ground. I wasn’t sure exactly what we were doing, but I concentrated on trying to pull the force up through my bones. I closed my eyes and focused. My hands burned as Adam’s and Rhea’s hands filled with magical energy. Pressure built in my chest, my lungs, my throat before condensing into my diaphragm.

“Now!” Rhea yelled.

The force jerked my eyes open and pushed a scream out of my mouth. A blinding burst of light exploded from our circle. A wide band of energy radiated out of all of our bodies in a ring of power. The force of it tore through the vampires and demons surrounding us. The ones closest exploded instantly. Those farther back weren’t killed, but they were knocked back, writhing on the ground.

Every nerve in my body felt raw and exposed. Tremors shook my limbs—magical aftershocks. Someone bumped into me. I looked around, feeling drunk and disoriented.

“Sabina?” I recognized the movement of Adam’s lips but was having trouble hearing.

I blinked and tried to focus. He grabbed my shoulders. “Sabina?”

I swallowed against a wave of nausea.

Orpheus ran over, covered in blood. “Lazarus, you take several guards and comb the area for survivors.”

Adam nodded. “Yes, sir.” He squeezed my shoulder before he ran off.

Orpheus rounded on me. “Where’s Maisie?”

“She was just here.” I frowned and looked around, not seeing her familiar form anywhere. “Rhea? Have you seen Maisie?”

Rhea knelt next to a mage with a wicked-looking neck wound. “No. I thought she was with you.”

My heart slammed against my ribs. “Giguhl!”

“Yeah?” He and Valva were helping Orpheus look for surviving mages among the wreckage.

“Did you see Maisie?”

He frowned. “Not since right before we circled up.”

I cursed. “Help me look for her!”

We split up, combing the area and calling for her. When I ran into Adam near the Sacred Grove, dread had spread through my veins like venom.

“Sabina, what’s wrong?”

“I can’t find Maisie anywhere.”

He paused, his face morphing into a mask of worry. “She has to be here somewhere. I’ll help you look.” His face and hands were covered in blood from staking vamps who’d survived the magical blast.

“No, you need to be sure none of those ass**les live. I’ll find her.” I forced a smiled. “Maybe she went inside the house or something.”

He looked unconvinced. “Okay, I’ll ask the weres to sniff around, see if they can pick up her scent.”

I paused. With all the craziness of the fighting, I’d totally forgotten about Michael and his pack. Once I found Maisie, I needed to check and make sure they were all okay.

“Good idea,” I said. “I’ll let you know if I find her.”

The lights from the manor’s windows created macabre spotlights on the battlefield. I ran toward the glow inside, hoping to find Maisie there.

I ran through the rooms, screaming for Maisie until my voice went hoarse. Finally, I made my way up to the Star Chamber, drawn there because it was the room she loved most in the house. I threw the door open and walked in with my gun drawn. But the room was empty except for Maisie’s lingering scent and her art supplies. I slammed my fist into the wall.

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